Despite the better prices and service terms temporarily being offered by Rogers Communications Inc. for Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G, Canadians will still be paying nearly the highest overall cost for the device in the world.
Rogers announced its new rates on Wednesday but has not yet published them on its website.
According to CBCNews.ca's iPhone iNdex, which compares basic service plans from the 27 carriers in 21 countries that have announced pricing for the device's launch on Friday, Canadians who buy the device before Aug. 31 will be faced with a total minimum cost of $2,176 US over the course of the three-year deal they must sign with Rogers. That is second only to the $2,554 US customers of Vodafone will pay in Italy with their two-year service agreement.
The total minimum commitment cost counts the up-front fee for the iPhone plus the monthly service charge for each month of the contract that customers are required to sign. All numbers in the iPhone iNdex have been converted to U.S. dollars for comparison purposes.
See the iPhone iNdex for a comparison of basic service plans from the 27 carriers in 21 countries that have announced pricing for the device's launch on July 11.
When Rogers' special pricing promotion ends on Aug. 31, however, the company will take the most expensive spot with a total cost of $2,572 US, by virtue of its three-year contract — the longest service commitment in the world. (Rogers prices on the index also take into account its monthly system access fee.)
The lowest total commitment will be enjoyed by Belgians, who will be on the hook for only $726 US, although that payment will be made completely up front. Belgium is an aberration on the iPhone iNdex because the country's laws prohibit the selling of goods that are tied to other services, effectively making cellphone contracts illegal. The iPhone's carrier in Belgium, Mobistar, is therefore selling the device with an upfront fee of $679 US and a monthly plan of $47 US. Customers will then be free to switch to other carriers, who could offer a better monthly rate once the digital lock on the iPhone is inevitably broken.
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On an average monthly basis, however, Rogers' prices fare better in comparison with carriers around the world. The total monthly cost, which averages the iPhone's initial up-front fee plus service charges for each month in the contract that customers are required to sign, is an average $74 US across all carriers. Rogers comes in lower at $60 US, rising to $71 US after Aug. 31.
The highest average monthly cost, at $176 US, will be paid by Danes, although their six-month contracts with Telia are front-loaded. Once the contract expires, their monthly subscription fee will drop from $127 US to $84 US.
The lowest monthly cost will be enjoyed in Switzerland by customers of Swisscom, who will be on the hook for an average of only $34 US a month for two years. Swisscom's plans don't include any calling minutes, which means customers will have to pay extra to talk, but the carrier is charging only 67 cents US per hour of voice usage.
The iPhone iNdex also lists the service terms that customers get under the basic plans they sign. The iPhone is designed to surf the web and use internet applications, and only six carriers have included unlimited data usage in their basic plans. Rogers' temporary plan, which provides six gigabytes of usage, is one of the higher allowances in the world.
Carriers around the world, including Rogers, have come under fire for the low data usage included in plans. A number of carriers are offering only 100 megabytes, which will allow users to surf fewer than 100 websites a month before incurring extra charges.
Overall, the best iPhone deals look to be had in Hong Kong and Austria. In Hong Kong, a two-year contract with the carrier 3 gets a free iPhone with 2,200 voice minutes and unlimited internet usage for $63 US a month. T-Mobile in Austria is selling the iPhone for $155 US up front on a two-year deal with 1,000 minutes and unlimited data for $55 US a month.